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Beirut gov''t fails to protect Lebanon from int''l tribunal ruling - Nasrallah

BEIRUT, Jan 16 (KUNA) -- Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah Sunday attributed opposition withdrawal from the government to the cabinet's failure to protect Lebanon from consequences of an anticipated ruling by an international court, probing the 2005 murder of Premier Rafik Al-Hariri.
The opposition, moreover, will not approve re-assignement of Saad Al-Hariri as the next Prime Minister, Nasrallah said in a televized speech, reacting to resignation of 11 opposition ministers which caused immediate government collapse.
"We will do whatever it takes for the best interest of Lebanon," said Nasrallah and affirmed that the opposition parties were in agreement as not to name caretaker Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri as next government chief.
"Any government in Lebanon should withdraw the Lebanese judges from the international tribunal and stop the Lebanese funding to it, and cancel the memorandum of understanding between the government and the international tribunal," he said.
The tribunal "is an American and Israeli court and its ruling is American and Israeli," he said.
Saudi Arabia and Syria have been mediating to reach a compromise between the Lebanese parties over the ruling of the tribunal, particularly over what is known as the false witnesses.
The Americans and Israelis "were refusing the Syrian-Saudi mediation from the start," said Nasrallah. This mediation, he added, was about exploring means of protecting Lebanon from the ruling "which accuses individuals from Hezbollah." Nasrallah said Hezbollah would not allow any government in Lebanon to protect false witnesses.
"We will not keep silent and are calling for a government that does not provoke or conspire against the resistant which is an element of force to Lebanon in the face of the Israeli greeds," he said.
Nasrallah said the future government should address the file of false witnesses in the Rafik Al-Hariri case.
He affirmed that Hezbollah would not allow anyone to accuse it of killing Al-Hariri and his comrades.
"We will not allow our reputation and dignity to be undermined, and be accused of murdering martyr Al-Hariri not even in the form of an accusation," he said.
Nasrallah said the Israelis "are the ones who killed Al-Hariri and all other assassinations, and they are trying to isolate and tranform Lebanon into another regional spot." As for the government, the Hezbollah chief said it was "our moral duty" to topple the government after it failed to address key issues like administration and financial corruption, and confronting the tribunal ruling. (end) oh.bs KUNA 162305 Jan 11NNNN